Best Calming Dog Treats

Updated September 2020
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

14 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
231 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best calming dog treats

Last Updated September 2020

Whether your dog is stressed, anxious, reactive, or simply always on the go, calming dog treats could be the answer. With naturally soothing ingredients, these treats help to relax dogs and reduce anxiety. 

Canine companions need calming dog treats for a wide range of reasons, from the stress of moving to a new house to separation anxiety to noise phobias. Although calming treats won't instantly solve all a dog's problems, they certainly can help. 

But you'll first want to learn more about the different types of calming ingredients found in these treats, because some might work better for your dog than others. You should also check the other ingredients to make sure the quality is up to par. Other factors you might want to consider include the type of treat, the flavor, and whether you want an organic product. This buying guide touches on all these issues and more, so you can make an informed purchase. We've also listed our top calming dog treats for you to consider in the chart above. 

A resealable package will help keep your dog's calming treats fresher longer. Plastic tubs, while bulky, can be washed and reused.

Key considerations

Calming ingredients

Most calming dog treats contain several ingredients, which taken together act to help relax your dog. Here are some of the most common ingredients you’ll find in calming dog treats: 

Chamomile: This plant is well known for its mild calming effects, which is why people sometimes drink chamomile tea before bed to aid sleep. It has a slight relaxing effect on dogs and can also help to settle the stomach. 

Passionflower: This plant slightly increases the amount of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. Lack of GABA has been linked to anxiety and mood disorders, so it follows that increasing it can reduce anxiety. It's said to be particularly beneficial for separation anxiety and noise phobias. 

Valerian root: This plant has its cheerleaders and its detractors. Some people find it calms their dogs effectively and helps with stressful situations and anxiety-induced behaviors, such as excessive licking. But other pet parents find their dogs actually get more stressed and less calm when taking valerian root. It isn't a very common problem, but if your dog seems worse after you give it a calming dog treat, you should try a formula without valerian root. 

Melatonin: This is a naturally occurring sleep hormone that is sometimes taken as a supplement by humans to rectify disturbed sleep patterns. There's evidence to show it can reduce the effects of most types of anxiety in dogs, as well as help dogs who have trouble sleeping through the night. 

L-tryptophan and l-theanine: These amino acids can increase the amount of serotonin found in the brain. Serotonin is known as the brain's “happy” chemical, which is responsible for feelings of well-being. This can help dogs control their stress, anxiety, and levels of reactivity. 

CBD: Although a contentious ingredient to some, CBD is legal to use in all 50 states. While it does come from the Cannabis sativa plant, it contains less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and often none at all, so it has no psychoactive effects. Many people believe CBD works wonders at calming dogs. It shouldn't be confused with hemp oil, which is a term generally used to refer to hemp seed oil. CBD is only found in the leaves, stems, and buds of the plant, so oil from hemp seeds contains no CBD and therefore has no significant calming effect. It is, however, an excellent source of omega fatty acids.

Other ingredients

The other ingredients in calming dog treats might not be as important as those listed above, but they shouldn't be overlooked. 

Grains: Despite what some people believe, there's nothing wrong with grains in dog treats and dog food. In fact, whole grains such as whole wheat and brown rice are important for heart health. That said, treats containing too many filler ingredients aren't ideal. 

Protein: The treats should contain some type of quality protein, whether that's from meat or legumes, such as peanuts in peanut butter treats. Avoid any treats that contain meat by-products or vaguely specified animal ingredients, as in “meat meal” rather than “chicken meal,” since these ingredients could be anything. It's important to know what you're feeding your four-legged friend.

EXPERT TIP

Look out for low-quality filler ingredients like sugar or excessive amounts of grain.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Treat type

The majority of calming dog treats are simple bite-size morsels, either crunchy or chewy, but you can occasionally find other options. For example, there are some calming dental chews on the market, so you can deal with your dog's anxiety and oral hygiene at the same time. 

Quantity

When buying calming dog treats, you'll likely want to know how many you get for your money. First, check the weight of the package. This can make it easier to compare prices, because you'd obviously expect to pay more for a 16-ounce package of treats than an 8-ounce package. You can also check the number of treats that come in a pack (though this information isn't always readily available). That plus the dosage will tell you how long the pack will last.

Flavor

You can find calming dog treats in all kinds of meat flavors, as well as some non-meaty flavors, such as peanut butter or apple. The flavor isn't hugely important unless your dog is a picky eater. As its owner, you know best which flavor your dog is likely to enjoy. 

Organic

It certainly isn't essential, but some pet parents prefer to buy organic treats for their dogs. You'll find some certified organic calming treats on the market, but they're few and far between. 

DID YOU KNOW?

With some calming dog treats, the effects wear off after a few hours, while others can last all day. Be sure to check before giving your dog another dose.

Calming dog treat prices

Calming dog treats range in price depending on quality, ingredients, and package size. 

Inexpensive: These calming dog treats cost as little as $10 to $15. They’re usually either small packages or treats that contain basic ingredients. 

Mid-range: These calming dog treats cost between $20 and $30. In this price range you'll find most types of calming dog treats, excluding CBD treats. 

Expensive: These calming dog treats cost from $30 to $50. At this price point you can expect to find large packages of standard calming treats or average-size packages of CBD calming treats. 

EXPERT TIP

If your dog is a picky eater, choose treats with a strong flavor or treats that contain ingredients you know your dog loves.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Know that all dogs are different. Just because one type of calming treats doesn't work on your dog, it doesn't mean it’s a lost cause. Try another type with a different combination of ingredients and you may notice a difference. 

  • Consider natural calming treats when flying with your dog. Sedatives aren't allowed because of potential complications, but calming treats can relax your dog slightly without the worry of side effects. 

  • Don't worry too much about how nutritious the treats are. You'll only be giving your dog a few a day, at most, so it's not hugely important if they're nutritionally void.

  • Check whether the treats have a money-back guarantee. Some companies will give you your money back if the treats don't work for your four-legged friend, giving you peace of mind when you make your purchase. 

Check if your chosen calming treats are hard and crunchy or soft and chewy. It doesn't change how they perform, but some dogs have strong preferences for one texture over the other.

FAQ

Q. How will I know the correct dosage for my dog? 
A. Dosage varies between brands, but you'll find full dosage directions on the packaging. You will need to know your dog's weight. If you're unsure, take it to the vet to be weighed. You can often do so at reception for free. 

 

Q. What if calming treats don't work for my dog? 
A. Think of calming dog treats as one piece in a puzzle when figuring out how to help your anxious, nervous, or reactive dog. You shouldn't expect miracles from the treats alone. They may calm your dog just enough to slow down its reaction time and allow for other training methods, such as desensitization or positive reinforcement. You may also find that calming treats are more effective when used in conjunction with other dog calming products, such as a pheromone diffuser or anxiety jacket. That said, in serious cases, you may need to try medication from a veterinarian or seek help from a behavioral expert. 

 

Q. How long does it take for calming dog treats to work? 
A. That depends on the ingredients in the treat. With some, you'll notice improvements within 30 to 60 minutes, while with others, you'll need to feed them to your dog for a couple of weeks before you see a difference. You may also find some treats that fit somewhere in the middle of this range. They contain some fast-acting ingredients that work within an hour or so and some slow-acting ingredients, so you'll see some changes right away while continued use may calm your dog even further. 

Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
The team that worked on this review
  • Arnold
    Arnold
    Writer
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Web Producer

BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
and give us feedback about your visit today.

Take Survey